The Orange-Chatham Group of the North Carolina Sierra Club recently released its 2019 candidate endorsement list, placing a special emphasis on candidates who value environmental policy and climate change mitigation.
The club is confident the endorsed candidates are best suited to combat climate change and fulfill local government’s responsibility to address the issue within the community.
The Sierra Club identified the climate crisis as "the defining issue of our time," and said in a press release that its candidates for local government have responded to this reality by "prioritizing livability, bus rapid transit and bike-pedestrian projects" in their platforms.
Allie Omens, president of UNC’s Environmental Honors Fraternity Epsilon Eta, worries candidates are making promises that will go unfulfilled.
“Election time creates a lot of talk, and it is sometimes hard to tell how much of these words are going to be converted into action,” she said.
However, she calls the endorsements “a step in the right direction,” and hopes to see policies that center around the expansion of alternative energy sources in Chapel Hill, the development of a commuter rail and the expansion of local composting infrastructure and waste prevention practices.
Alan Parry, political chair of N.C. Sierra Club, said endorsed candidates in Chapel Hill and Carrboro were chosen because of their proven commitment to leadership and advocacy when it comes to combating climate change.
"We are lucky to live in an area where no serious candidate is debating whether human-caused climate change is real or whether we should, at some level, be doing something about it," Parry said. "But there's a difference between acknowledging the problem and prioritizing the solutions.”
Parry said endorsed candidates were chosen because they recognize both the importance of action at the local level and the interconnectedness that exists between the climate crisis, environmental justice and other key economic and social issues.